Most of our readers are reasonably familiar with the theory of Evolution ─ its errors and vagaries; but we are hopeful that a review of some writings on it, along with some of our own additions, may prove interesting and helpful.
Evolution claims to do with the origin of man; and it is freely admitted that the questions of, Whence came I, and whither do I go, have absorbed the attention of the best minds among the human race since any records have been kept. And yet this subject, complex as it may seem, is relatively simple when its weakness is properly exposed. There are a number of different schools of thought on this subject each one trying to bridge the gap of error which the others expose; but none of them have succeeded, because it is impossible properly to substantiate error.
We start with the overall picture which almost all of them accept; namely, that the first life on this earth appeared in the water of this hemisphere, originating in the Pristine Mud, and gradually evolving into the fish, then the mammals, then the reptile that lives partly in the water and out of the water; then strictly land animals and finally man. This all sounds very good on paper until the microscope of truth is directed upon it.
Those who claim that man originated 2,000,000, or even 10,000 years ago, fail to take into consideration certain indisputable facts. One of the strongest of these is history itself. It is well established among scholars that the first date in history of which scholars can agree is 536 B.C. ─ the year Cyrus the Great sent the Jews back to Jerusalem after their seventy years of Babylonian captivity. We do not mean to imply here that nothing happened before that date. We know plenty of things did happen but the pundits cannot agree on the dates on which they happened ─ not prior to 536 B.C. Now, doesn't it seem odd that some reliable records would not have been kept prior to 536 B.C. if man had been on this earth for such a long time? And this does not mean that the intelligence was lacking back there to do it. Our readers are familiar with the life of Moses, and intellectuals agree that his was one of the finest minds ever to appear among fallen men.
Euclid is admittedly the most prominent mathematician of antiquity, best known for his treatise on geometry ─ a man of whom we hear very little today. However, there is a city on Lake Erie in Ohio named Euclid for him. His birthplace is not even known, although he lived about 300 B.C. Next to the Bible, his work is the most translated, published and studied of all the books produced by the western world. There are other outstanding Greek and Roman philosophers who are much quoted yet today, yet none of them give us any reliable record prior to 536 B.C. We are told "knowledge shall increase" (Dan. 12:4), but it is self-evident that intelligence hasn't increased. As we consider the great minds of the past, all the "intelligence" of our day wouldn't accomplish much without the accumulated wisdom of the ancients. But with the records of these men's accomplishments, the accumulated knowledge of the past has enabled them to make considerable progress. But no king has ever attained the wisdom of Solomon, much less "evoluted” ─ that is, surpassed his wisdom. "With all thy getting, get understanding." (Prov. 4: 7)
It is also well established that the smallest of human brains contains about 68 cubic inches; whereas, the best of the simian apes contains only about 34 cubic inches. Quite a difference! It is little wonder they have never found the "missing link."
It is in order to insert here that David's fight with the Philistine giant Goliath properly types the conflict that took place after A.D. 1874. At that time most of Christendom was permeated with the idea that Evolution was the thing ─ just as they also then believed that eternal torment was the wages of sin. Thus, Brother Russell had as big a fight over Evolution as he did over eternal torment, but he shattered the belief so completely that hardly any well educated people now believe the error. In fact, we have heard over the radio some months ago that a prominent university was conducting a special course in its curriculum against Evolution.
We might instance another personal experience: We were reasonably well acquainted with an eye specialist, and one day in his office he remarked, without any prodding from us, that the white of the eye does not ordinarily have any blood in it; but, if you should secure some sort of sore in the eye, a tiny blood vessel would creep out from the rim to treat the sore, dissolve it then disappear. And he made the remark to us that no one could convince him that was merely a matter of chance: there had to be some intelligence back of it.
One publication that is favorable to the Evolution theory makes the statement: "Science cannot comment on the soul." Of course, a true evolutionist does not believe the Bible, so he receives little or no help there; but the word "soul" occurs hundreds of times in the Bible, and is well defined by the various lexicographers. And it presents little difficulty to understand it once the truth about it is accepted. We have a tract on What Is The Soul, which analyzes the subject quite thoroughly; and any of our readers are welcome to a free copy if they request it.
This same commentator makes this statement: "Modern man is so far removed from nature that if he were plunged back into the Paleolithic conditions he would quickly perish. On the other hand, Paleolithic men would not survive long in modern civilized conditions either." And further: "Also man is the only species in the animal kingdom that will perform wholesale massacres of its own members; animals are protected from doing this by innate behavioral control of aggression." Then the excuse is offered, "Perhaps it is because man is a recent species, lately descended from australopithecines who owed their survival in aggressive behavior in bands, with all that that implies in the way of mob psychology." When we consider the peace and quiet that prevailed in the Garden of Eden until sin entered, it is just impossible to fit this thing together with any semblance of logic or intelligence. "The man and his wife were naked, and they were not ashamed." (Gen. 2:25) But after they were beguiled into sin, "The Lord God called unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Gen. 3:9,10) Adam showed much more intelligence about right and wrong, obedience and disobedience, than many people do today.
As stated above, man is the only animal that resorts to wholesale massacre of his own kind. Yet we are told that we have evoluted from the lower animals; and, now that we have evoluted, we are worse than they are. St. Paul properly describes this in his letter to Timothy: "Avoid profane and vain babblings, and the oppositions of science falsely so called." (1 Tim. 6: 20)
Another cult (not naming themselves Evolutionists, but actually teaching the same thing) produces the brilliant conclusion that God is not really a person, just an energy, and that all of us have evolved from that energy. It takes quite a fluid imagination to reach such a conclusion, and it brings the words of David vividly to mind: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God, there is none that doeth good." (Ps. 14:1)
SOME CORROBORATIVE TESTIMONY
Following are some excerpts from Parousia Vol. 6, with some comments of our own: "'In a beginning God created the heaven and the earth,' we are to remember that this beginning relates not to the universe, but merely to our planet. Then it was that 'the morning stars sang together' and all the angelic sons of God 'shouted for joy' ─ when the Lord laid the foundations of the earth and 'made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness its swaddling band.' (Job 38:4-11)"
The King James Version of Genesis 1:2 reads that "the earth was without form and void." This is self-evidently a very loose statement, because a piece of mud in the hand has some form to it; and, if there was any matter at all in the earth's constitution at that time, it must necessarily have had some form. The correct translation says, "the earth was empty and waste." There was no living organism on it at that time.
And there was reason for this: From geological deduction we conclude that "in a beginning" the earth was simply molten rock, white with heat ─ which would drive off everything that could be moved at all, leaving simply the bare rock. In Northern Canada this rock (now cool) appears on the surface (known to miners as the outcropping). There is no earth or vegetation on it.
Inasmuch as the sun was not visible until the fourth day of the creative week (Gen. 1:14-19), it follows that the first three creative days were not 24-hour days, ruled by the sun such as we have with us; but they must have been periods of time. And during those days huge trees and other things developed, which is certainly contrary to anything we know now about 24-hour days. A gigantic tree cannot be produced in one 24-hour day. Nor need we argue that anything is possible with God. We believe that is true, but His possibilities lie only within the scope of His own laws as we observe them today. We are told it is impossible for God to lie, the reason being that this is contrary to His own established law of truth.
Therefore, we conclude that those creative days were periods of time, and we find substantiation for this in the Bible. It tells us of the day of temptation in the wilderness ─ forty years (Ps. 95:8-10; Heb. 3:9,17), sometimes called a day or "time." Also, Peter's statement "that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years." (2 Pet. 3:8) Also, Ps. 90:4: "A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." Certainly those creative days could not have been of 24-hours duration; but it would seem a logical conclusion that all of them were of the same length of time, regardless of their duration, being of one creative week.
Here is what Prof. Dana has to say about it: "In calculations of elapsed time from the thickness of formations there is always great uncertainty, arising from the dependence of this thickness on a progressing subsistance (irregular sinking of the land). In estimates made from alluvial deposits (soil deposited from water), when the data are based on the thickness of the accumulations in a given number of years ─ say the last 2,000 years ─ this source of doubt affects the whole calculation from its foundation and renders it almost, if not, quite worthless. When the estimate is based on the amount of detritus (fine scourings) discharged by a stream it is of more value, but even here there is a source of great doubt."
Thus, it is unfortunate that at the beginning of this millennium (1874) some of the brightest minds have rejected the thought of an intelligent Creator to the recognition of a blind force operating under a law of evolution and survival of the fittest. That theory had not only found acceptance generally in the highest institutions of learning, but it was gradually being incorporated into the text books of our grammar schools.
We now quote from Parousia Vol. Two, first published in 1889: "It is not many years since the skeleton of a man was found in a former bed of the Mississippi river, and some geologists began to calculate how many thousands of years might be indicated by the many feet of silt, slime, etc., covering the skeleton, and fancied they had a very valuable sample of pre-historic man. But finding later, several feet below the skeleton, parts of a flat boat, such as was in use on the Mississippi less than fifty years ago, it completely upset the calculations, and relieved mankind of another proof that the world is hundreds of thousands of years older than the Bible teaches." (Page 35, Par. 1)
Those of our readers who can recall the year 1925 will remember the famous trial at Dayton, Tenn., where the teacher was teaching this evolution theory to his pupils; and it aroused the animosity of many of the Dayton citizens. Eventually, they brought teacher Scopes to trial, with the idea of discharging him from his position. He engaged Clarence Darrow, the renowned Chicago criminal lawyer for his defense, while the opposition brought William Jennings Bryan on their side. At the turn of the century evolutionism was being badly battered by the truth that was hurled against it; and it is probable that Mr. Bryan read enough of that at that time to give him enough truth to win the Dayton battle, although many publications at that time severely ridiculed him for his stand on the subject.
However, here is what one prominent publication has to say about it: "Highly publicized trial of a Dayton, Tenn., high school teacher, John T. Scopes, charged with violating state law by teaching the theory of evolution: In March 1925 the Tennessee legislature had declared unlawful the teaching of any doctrine denying the divine creation of man as taught by the Bible. World attention focused on the trial proceedings, which promised confrontation between fundamentalist literal belief and liberal interpretation of the Scriptures. William Jennings Bryan led for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow [a famous Chicago criminal lawyer] for the defense... The judge ruled out any test of the law's constitutionality or argument on the validity of Darwin's theory, limiting the trial to the single question of whether John T. Scopes had taught evolution, which he admittedly had. He was convicted and fined $100. On appeal, the State Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 1925 law, but acquitted Scopes on the technicality that he had been fined excessively. The law was repealed in 1967."
One of the clever remarks made by William Jennings Bryan at this trial was when Clarence Darrow handed him a rock and asked Bryan to tell him the age of it. Said Bryan, "I am not interested in the age of rocks; I am only interested in the Rock of Ages."
The average person considers a mule a cross between a donkey and a horse, which is true; but the definition is not comprehensive enough. A mule is any animal that cannot reproduce itself. And this rule is so rigid in nature that animals will not generally cross their line, but they occasionally do so under the pressure of man. Thus, a dove and a pigeon ─ looking almost like twins ─ will mate under pressure, and produce an offspring; but that offspring cannot reproduce itself. This offers the evolutionists more of a problem than they have been able to solve.
THE MENDEL SYSTEM
Mendel was a monk who did considerable research into this matter of evolution; he did not believe it. Thus, he eventually discovered that the reproduction of animals always followed a well-defined pattern. For instance, if he mated a white rabbit with a black rabbit, the offspring would invariably be 25% black and 25% white, with the remainder being mottled. He demonstrated this so many times that those who became familiar with it could not do otherwise than believe it. Also, some sixty years or more back some breeders of chickens decided to cross different varieties, with the idea of obtaining the best in each strain. But what happened? Instead of the best in each, they produced the worst in each, making the experiment a complete failure. Horsemen have discovered the same thing with valuable horses; so they now content themselves with improving the strain they have without any crossing. All of this is bold and transparent disputation of evolution.
THE COSMOGONIC THEORY
Many theories have been advanced on this subject, evolution being involved in some of them. However, we incline to the explanation of Prof. Vale, which we shall offer briefly as follows: First of all, we would say that things unrevealed belong to God, and we do well to wait for the "due time" of His revelation. However, by way of research man has found there are various strata or layers composing the earth's structure. Nor is this altogether theory. If we go to the north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado ─ where it is a mile deep ─ there the various strata are so plainly visible that they almost look as though they had been put there by the artist's brush. They not only are varied in thickness, but each has a different color.
Scientists agree that these strata were at one time moist and soft ─ when the earth was a molten mass of white heat. This great heat drove anything movable away from the earth, but as the earth began to cool these various rings were precipitated producing what we see in the Grand Canyon. That the earth is still far from cool on the inside is shown by the geysers in Yellowstone Park, which erupt regularly with very warm water. This is also corroborated by the gold mines of South Africa, some of which are down about two miles; and the temperature is so warm there it is very difficult to recover the gold that is there.
It is well to insert here that gold is about the heaviest material we know, being nineteen times heavier than water. Thus, being the heaviest, it logically follows it would be the first to be precipitated back to earth. That accounts for gold being so difficult to find, costly to recover, giving it the name of the precious metal. It is generally taught that it is indestructible, which is basically true; but this does not mean that it is always in the form in which we see it. Gold will melt at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit; and, if it is heated enough, it will dissolve in gaseous form. Thus, the earth's gold mines are deepest in the earth ─ sometimes visible on the surface, and sometimes not. In fact, the gold discovered at Sutter's mill in California in 1848 was largely on the surface, and is known as placer mining. That found in the quartz stringers goes deeply into the earth, must be blasted loose by highly scientific methods ─ very expensive to recover, and most of it is thus located.
It is surmised that there were seven rings about the earth and this is confirmed by the formations in the Grand Canyon. The last of these is believed to have been mostly water; that it broke at the North and South Poles first, then rushed toward earth's center, causing the great Flood of Gen. 7. There is some substantiation for this, because in recent years men have found animals in the frozen north with undigested grass in their stomachs, clearly proving that a great change violently and suddenly took place.
It also changed our climate in a marked manner. Quite a few of the antediluvians then lived for more than nine hundred years. But, so far as we know, no one born after the Great Flood ever lived half that long. And there seems to be good cause for this: Before the Flood there had been no rain upon the earth ("There went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground" ─ Gen. 2:6), which means there was no fermentation in the earth before the Flood. Thus, the atmosphere was probably about 80% oxygen and 20% nitrogen, which would be conducive to long life. Now the situation is just reversed: Presently, the air is about 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen; and water covers about 80% of the earth's surface.
Geologists claim that the surface gold found in California in 1848 is simply the wash-off, the small residue that was absorbed by the glaciers, then deposited in California when the ice melted. So far as we know, there are no gold mines at all at the equator, but the real deposits are to be found nearer the North and South Poles. The Hollinger Mine at Timmins, Ontario (not too far from the Arctic Circle) was at one time the largest gold mine in the world, and those in far South Africa are also unusually large and profitable to mine.
Now follows a comment of the thoughts of Prof. G. F. Wright, Oberlin College, Ohio, regarding this matter: "Prof. Wright firmly believes that, at the remote time that North America was covered with ice, Siberia was also covered with ice. And the water and the ice were practically phases of the Biblical flood... All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, Noah only remained alive and those with him in the ark. After forty days and forty nights of continuous rain ─ the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days (Gen. 7:17-24)."
Knowing the end from the beginning, Jehovah so times the introduction of man upon the earth that the last of the rings came down in a deluge just at the proper time ─ in 1656 after creation ─ to destroy the corrupted race in Noah's day, and thus introduce the present dispensation ("this present evil world" ─ Gal. 1:4). The removal of the watery encirclement of the earth not only gave changing seasons of summer and winter, and opened the way for violent storms, earthquakes, etc., but it also made possible the rainbow, which was first seen after the Flood, because previously the sun could not penetrate the watery canopy so as to give the rainbow effect (Gen. 9:12-17). And that bow was set in the sky as a solemn assurance that "all flesh shall not be cut off any more by the waters of a flood." (Gen. 9:11) And so it has been since the great Flood, there has been no flood since that "cut off" all flesh.
However, those living at that time did not believe what God had told them, so they attempted to build the Tower of Babel (gateway to God, or Heaven). "So the Lord said, let us go down and confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." (Gen. 11:7) This had the effect of dividing the people into tribes or groups, and eventually into nations as we see them now. But, whereas the Lord wished to scatter them then, He is now doing just the reverse: "My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation... for all the earth [society as presently organized] shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy." (Zeph. 3:8) And after that, the kingdom ─ "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." "I will turn to the people a pure language [a language they can all understand ─ not corrupted with the traditions and foolish imaginations of evolutionists and other errorists ─ some of which we have mentioned aforegoing], that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent." (Zeph. 3:9)
THE CREATIVE WEEK
It is our understanding that each of the "days" of the creative week was 7,000 years long, the first two of which (the 14,000) were devoted to the ordering of the earth preparatory for animal life. The next two days (another 14,000 years) were devoted to bringing forth vegetation and the lowest form of life ─ shell-fish, etc. ─ in the water. The next two epoch days (14,000 years) brought forth living creatures that move in the sea and on the land. It was during the sixth of these 7,000-year days that the reptiles appeared ─ those animals that lived partly in the water and partly on the land. And at the extreme end of the sixth day "God said, Let us make man in our image." (Gen. 1:26)
And man in God's "image" in his physical organism is so vastly superior to the highest member of the brute creation as proves him to be an animal standing immeasurably above all of earth's other animals, which is a pure disproof of evolution. His upright position ─ not walking on his hind legs ─ with all its implications, physical, mental, moral and religious, and its guarding him from degradation in these four respects, is one of his marked physical differentiations from the brute creation. It is well stated that man has four characteristics, or appetites ─ the alimentive (the desire for food and drink); the procreative (the affinity for the opposite sex); the acquisitive (the desire to get and to hold ─ house to house, field to field); and the spiritual (the desire to worship a higher being). All of the lower animals have the first two of these appetites, some have the third, but none of them have the fourth. And this fourth is so deeply imbedded in our blood that the worst of the heathen, even savages, all have it. If we go to darkest Africa, we find those limited intellects worshiping something that they believe is higher than they are, and which they hold in reverential awe.
A well-made man surpasses in symmetry and beauty the form of any of the brute creation ─ his expressive eye, his winsome smile, his charming voice and his intellectual and religious countenance. We once knew a man who had done some prospecting in the Rocky Mountains of the United States. Inasmuch as a good portion of rock is exposed in those mountains, this man would occasionally just sit on a board and slide down the mountain for a hundred or two hundred feet. One day he did this, but at the bottom he slid right into a sort of room enclosed on three sides by an unscalable wall, with a door in the middle of the front wall. But, when he looked around there was a mountain lion very near him, bristling his back hairs and swishing his tail in an angry manner. Of course, the man was quite unnerved; he was defenseless against this brute, and unable to get away from him. So he said he just began to curse the lion very loudly ─ at which time the lion pricked up his ears, looked timidly at the man, then turned and went out the door. Apparently he had never heard a human voice before, and it completely befuddled him.
Thus, there is nothing in the brute creation that bears reasonable comparison with man. The human skin in complexion, delicacy, softness and informativeness is far above that of any of the brutes. His five senses stand out perceptibly, although dogs and other animals may have a keener sense of smell because of their need for it, whereas, man does not need it. Above all external members, man's hand is the finest tool that has ever been seen. It can wrap itself around any object. Just contrast this with the fin of the fish, the wing of a bird, the hoof of the horse, cow or sheep, the pedal of the elephant, the paw of the lion, tiger, dog or cat and the combination of the foot-hand of the simian groups, and the difference reaches to high heaven in favor of man's hand.
Even apart from Adam being in God's image and likeness, his body stands out as almost infinitely superior to that of any member of the brute creation. Well could David exclaim: "I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works." (Ps. 139:14)
Surely man's body, apart from his intellectual, moral and religious endowments, in contrast with the bodies of earth's lower creatures, is a strong disproof of evolution, a strong proof of his being a special creation, and a wonderful credit to his Creator's wisdom, power, justice and love.
Another telling argument against evolution is the assertion of Acts 17:26, "God hath made of one blood all nations of men." And this is borne out by the results we see. It matters not what races intermingle, their children are able to reproduce themselves. A white man and a Chinese, a Chinese and a negro, an Indian and an Eskimo ─ all come within the scope of Gen. 1:24,25: "And God said, Let the beast of the earth bring forth after his kind." In certain places the races have interbred, without any of them producing a sterile offspring ─ a statement which cannot be truthfully said about any of the lower animals. This certainly proves the unity of the human race and disproves evolution. Some philologists claim that all languages are derived from one basic language ─ proven by the similarity of their chief roots, words, and grammatical constructions.
This has reduced our languages to five linguistic groups, and these five in turn may be reduced to one original language. Inasmuch as there are thousands of different animals, it would mean thousands of different languages if the human family had originated as did the brute creation.
The treatise on Evolution will be concluded in Part Two in a future paper. We trust what we have given will be a help and blessing to all God's people who read it.
"Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, not such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." (Ps. 40:4,5)
(Brother John J. Hoefle, Reprint No. 388, May 1988)
“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
A little quotation from somebody’s brain seems wonderfully fitting in the consideration of our text: “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed.” It is a complete definition, for sometimes we pray with groanings that cannot be uttered.
There is one form of prayer, one feature of prayer, which is very appropriate to us, namely, thanksgiving. Yet the Scriptures discriminate between prayer, praise and thanksgiving, and use these words in the same connection, as representing various features of worship, communion with God. In the sense of petition our definition also applies when we include thanksgiving in our prayers. Expressed or unexpressed, prayer is the soul’s sincere desire. Prayer that would not be the soul’s sincere desire would not be acceptable. We may not always know how to render our thanks to God, but it is comforting to remember that the Lord knows our thoughts and is willing to accept our feeble expressions.
All those who have come to the Lord must first have recognized their need of coming and His readiness, willingness and ability to supply all necessary things. We need rest and peace and life everlasting. These we do not find in the world around us. There is no real peace outside of the Lord’s provision; “My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) The things which the Lord has promised to his people are things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man.
Whoever, therefore, has received the earnest of the Spirit has something to desire, something to look forward to, something to pray for. Therefore we pray, Thy kingdom come, that the blessings which the Lord has promised shall be fulfilled, not only those for the world, but also those for the church.
SHOULD PRAY FOR FORGIVENESS EVEN AS WE FORGIVE
As the Christian goes through the world he finds various things to distract his heart. But since he finds that the Lord has promised that peace he should look for that peace, should expect it. We should pray to God for the things that we think we ought to have. But we are to take his superior wisdom as expressed in his Word as our guide; and we are to ask according to his Word. If we have a measure of peace and of blessing, we should pray all the more for the fullness of joy. While we have been cleansed from original sin by the precious blood of Christ, we must remember that we have daily trespasses; and we should pray daily, “Forgive us our trespasses.” This request the Lord answers on condition that we ask for forgiveness of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. So the Christian will find a great deal to pray for in all of life’s affairs.
The Christian, however, should not be so absorbed in meditation that he cannot do his work. But the spirit of prayer should be with him, so that in every affair of life, in every perplexity, he would be ever ready to turn his mind toward the Lord, for his blessings and to look to the Lord regarding all daily interests; for we are the Lord’s. This course would be a life of prayer without ceasing. We do not cease to ask for the coming of the Kingdom simply because we have asked for it once. We do not cease to pray for our daily food. We acknowledge that all good things come from him. We recognize that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17); and that he who gave his Son for us is ever ready to give to those who seek to serve him.
This attitude of heart is praying without ceasing. Sometimes the thought may only flash through the mind, but, nevertheless, it brings a blessing to us. All of God’s dealings with the elect class are for their development; and one feature of this development is to learn to know whence our blessings come and to appreciate the fact that God is the Giver, and that “no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Pastor Russell, Reprint 4883, September 15, 1911)
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION ─ Was Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus, an Ancient Worthy?
ANSWER ─ So far as we know, this question never came up under Brother Russell or Johnson; otherwise we would quote their opinion rather than our answer. We have the same attitude toward both messengers that Brother Johnson had toward Brother Russell: If the Scriptures didn’t give him an unmistakable answer to such questions, he always took Brother Russell’s opinion rather than his own.
While the Bible does not definitely say Joseph was an Ancient Worthy, it would seem from the general setting, and the things said about Joseph, that he was one of them. Some might think that he would have been mentioned in the 11th Chapter of Hebrews if he were an Ancient Worthy, but there were other prominent Ancient Worthies not mentioned in that Chapter ─ John the Baptist, Isaiah, Hosea and “the prophets” (Heb. 11:32). So the fact that he was not mentioned in that Chapter would be no criterion. The Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream with instructions concerning Mary; and Joseph followed very carefully what he was told to do (Matt. 1:20,21). Undoubtedly he was faithful in carrying out all the Lord told him to do.
So far we as we know, there is nothing in the records to tell us whether Joseph was alive or dead when Jesus died, but the commentators infer that he was dead; otherwise Jesus would not have given the Apostle John the custody of His mother. Since Joseph was faithful in all the Lord told him to do, caring for Mary until Jesus was born, then caring for Jesus until He became the anointed One ─ Jesus Christ ─ Jesus would not have ignored His stepfather to give John the custody of His mother. The Jewish family arrangement was a very strong one; thus, Jesus would hardly have told Mary to leave her husband, and make her home with John.
Matthew 1:19 says Joseph was “a just man”; and this identical expression was given concerning Cornelius (Acts 10:22). Galatians 3:11 and Romans 1:17 tell us that the “just shall live by faith”; and it would seem that Joseph lived by faith. According to Acts 24:15, which used the same Greek word dikaios translated just, then he would receive “a better resurrection” ─ the resurrection of “the just.” He had the supreme privilege of caring for the boy Jesus; and this in itself was a great honor. Joseph believed God, and Galatians 3:6 says “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.